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    Los pintores : Antonio Berni y la plástica nueva / Bernardo Graiver
    Bibliograma (Buenos Aires). -- No.23 (July-August 1963)
    p. 17 - [19]
    Journal article – Essays
    Graiver, Bernardo. "Los pintores: Antonio Berni y la plástica nueva." Bibliograma (Buenos Aires), no.23 (July-August 1963): 17-19.

Argentine art critic Bernardo Graiver writes on the animated debates occasioned by the work of Antonio Berni, and proposes that it be reassessed. Graiver speaks of the nexus between aesthetics, ethics, and truth. He maintains that Berni’s work depicts the violence of the earth and serves as indisputable testimony to the twentieth century. Graiver argues that, due to the materials that he used in his work, Berni showed “life exactly as it is.”


Antonio Berni (1905–81) is one of the most important Argentine artists of the twentieth century. Starting in 1925, he studied in Europe, settling in Paris where he came into contact with the Surrealist avant-garde and communist ideas. Upon returning to Argentina in 1932, he showed his Surrealist works at the Amigos del Arte [Friends of Art]. The following year, he joined the Equipo Polígrafo [Graphic Work Team] founded by David Alfaro Siqueiros (1896–1974). That group made the mural, Ejercicio Plástico [Visual Exercise], in Don Torcuato on the outskirts of Buenos Aires. His Nuevo Realismo [New Realism] theory was based on the idea of a transcendent realism by means of politically and socially committed art.In 1944, he started the Taller de Arte Mural [Mural Art Workshop]. In the fifties, he made paintings about rural workers, especially those from Santiago del Estero, a province in northern Argentina. This gave rise to his narrative series of painting-collages of Juanito Laguna. In 1962, he was awarded the Grand Prize for Prints and Drawings at the Venice Biennale. The following year, Berni began working on a print series on Ramona Montiel. Though he continued working in the media of painting, collage, and printmaking, Berni (who was from Rosario, Argentina) also made objects, installations, and happenings in the sixties and seventies while exploring stylistic variations of figurative realism.

Bernardo Graiver, who was of Jewish descent, was an outstanding writer as well as an art critic. His novels include La hija del rabino [The Rabbi’s Daughter]. He is one of the critics to analyze, and attempt to theorize about the formal changes that Berni effected in his work. 

Due to the multiple approaches to Berni’s work (its reception, ethical, material aspects, and violence), this document is of great interest. Despite the narrative nature of the characters Juanito Laguna and Ramona Montiel––who were central to Berni’s production from these years––the text, unlike many others from the sixties, does not fall into a literal interpretation of Berni’s work.

Roberto Amigo
Fundación Espigas, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Fundación Espigas.